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Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Finch (Penciler), Danny Miki (Inker), Frank D’Armata (Colorist), RS and COMICRAFT’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), Nicole Wiley and Molly Lazer (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)
Captain America and Hawkeye arrive at Avengers Mansion to find a gathering of almost all the team’s former members, as well as several other heroes. They have all responded to the Code White call. Nick Fury orders them all to get off the premises, as this is still a live crime scene, but the team is more concerned if what they learned is true about Scott Lang and the others. Fury gets a call and the team discovers that the United Nations has cut all ties with them after the incident with Iron Man earlier that morning. As Hawkeye and Falcon vent some anger over this, Fury orders them to leave again. Suddenly, a massive Kree armada led by a giant warship arrives out of the horizon and attack the Avengers. The team is scattered and those who can fly take to the air to stop the Kree. A group cripple and crash land one of the smaller fighter crafts, and Captain America interrogates the soldier. The soldier informs Captain America that the Supreme Intelligence foretold this day of destruction for the Avengers so the Kree made sure to make it happen. This is the day of betrayal. As Cap tried to figure out what the soldier means, Hawkeye has enough of this and goes on a warpath. He is shot in the back, which sets his quiver on fire. Realizing that this is the end, he grabs a Kree with a jetpack and sacrifices his life by flying right into the engine of the warship, causing it to explode. The remaining Kree army then retreats, leaving the Avengers to mourn. However, things are amiss as the warship seems to be made out of an unknown substance and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier didn’t even pick up any alien crafts in the area. Doctor Strange then arrives and reveals to the Avengers that these attacks are magic based. Captain America then tragically realizes who the person responsible for the madness is.
Assembled in front of the burning wreckage of Avengers Mansion are almost every individual who has ever served as an Avenger, all of whom have responded to the Code White emergency call that has gone out. In addition, there are several other local heroes, such as the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Luke Cage and the original Spider-Woman, who have come to see what aid they can offer. Alongside some S.H.I.E.L.D. officers, Hawkeye and Captain America stand before this might assemblage.
Captain America asks the group what they are all doing here. The Black Panther steps forward from the crowd and asks Captain America what else would he would have wanted them to do. They were all Avengers once and their team is in trouble. The call went out and they have answered.
Nick Fury speaks up and continues the discussion he was having with them right before Hawkeye and Captain America arrived. He understands that their presence is noble, but he needs them off the property immediately. Mr. Fantastic interjects and tells the war veteran that, from what he was told, this is possible the worst day in Avengers history. They are here out of a sense of respect. Nick Fury agrees, but orders them to do it across the street in Central Park. This is still a live crime scene. At least two Avengers died there and they are tainting the area. Reed of all people, being a scientist, should know this. Any one of them could be emitting toxins or radiations in the air that could corrupt the environment, no matter how small the emissions may be. They have no clue what happened here today and until S.H.I.E.L.D. gets a proper field reading, what they are all doing is illegal. “Disperse!!!” barks Fury.
None of the heroes, however, budge. Instead, Warbird makes her way to the front of the crowd and asks Captain America if it is true. Is Scott Lang really dead? Captain America looks slightly to the ground and simply says yes. The two friends hug to console each other over the tragedy. Cap tells everyone that he appreciates them coming in response to the call. They have a dedication to this team and home. However, Fury is correct and they need to listen to him now. They have to find out what has happened to them and why.
Nearby, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gives an uh oh. He asks Fury if he wants some bad news. Hearing this, Hawkeye says no. Fury is on his phone and asks the person on the other end if it is just going to happen like that. The other agent tells him that CNN has the story and is going live. He then takes out a handheld video monitor and tells Fury that it is starting now.
On the screen is an image of a representative from the United Nations. The man announces that after the incident at the United Nations this morning, the organization has unanimously decided to disavow its relationship with the Avengers. While this shouldn’t discount the great number of achievements the team has had in the past for the pursuit of the world’s safety, there is growing concern over the stability of the so-called “hero” group. That was fast, comments an angry Hawkeye.
Fury tells Hawkeye that this is the style suits like the United Nations do things. They treat things like band-aids and rip them right off once they aren’t useful anymore. Captain America tells the two that the United Nations is just doing what they thought was best. Hawkeye doesn’t buy that excuse, but Cap tells him that there is a bigger picture. The group has to consider the entire world. Annoyed, Hawkeye tells Captain America that the United Nations sold them out. They have done so much for them and then they do this to the Avengers at their worst moment.
Cap explains to Hawkeye that they don’t owe the Avengers anything, but Hawkeye asks if they couldn’t even owe them a phone call before they go public like this. Cap tells Hawkeye that he is just angry, but Hawkeye interrupts and tells him, with all respect, that they should never have been involved with the United Nations in the first place. Bureaucracy was strangling the team. They aren’t politicians; they are superheroes. They are the ones that people count on, because they know they cannot count on anyone else. If he is mad about anything, it is that he knew this day was coming. He knew these suits would do something like this.
Captain America concedes to appease Hawkeye, but thinks that some of his anger is misdirected after these recent events. Falcon, all riled up now, agrees with Hawkeye. They just lost their friends. The world just lost two heroes. The United Nations sideswiped them in a sleazy way. Black Widow comments on how she feels bad for Tony Stark, but Fury, on his phone, tells her that Stark has more bad news coming his way. Recalling the conversation earlier at Beth-Israel Hospital, Cap asks if Tony was asked to step down as secretary of defense. Yes, answers Fury, but not in a nice way. Fury then asks why they are all still here. What part of leave do they not understand? Suddenly, he trails off as something in the sky catches his attention.
Everyone looks up at the sky to see an alien aircraft fly overhead at top speed. Fury calls the Helicarrier and asks them what they are reading from the craft. The agent on board, however, is confused at to what Fury is referring. Fury tells him that he needs intel fast. Still confused, the agent asks Fury what he needs intel on. Fury tells him that he needs information on the alien craft flying over their heads. The agent informs Fury that he isn’t picking up anything on his radar.
Warbird lifts off into the air and asks Cap what they should do. Cap orders any Avenger who can fly to get up there and find out what is going on. Warbird will take lead. Cap informs Nick that he can’t stop them, so he should stop trying. The agent Fury is speaking to asks about what he is supposed to be looking for. Fury, confused, asks him if he doesn’t see it. Suddenly, something large comes out over the horizon. Spider-Man tells Fury that he sees it, if that helps. Daredevil lets out an “oh my god” as all the heroes see a shocking site. “I, uh, I need to go get some more arrows,” mutters Hawkeye.
Flying straight towards Avengers Mansion is a giant alien warship, with hundreds of alien fighter crafts swarming around it shooting blasts of energy in every direction. The flying Avengers head off to meet their foes as the ships begin to shoot at the Avengers. Jocasta narrowly avoids a blast as Fury calls the Helicarrier again. The agent asks what he is supposed to be looking for exactly. Angered, Fury tells him to look out his window. There is a brief pause as the agent looks out the window, then he finally sees the giant ship. “Yeah,” says Fury, now that he and his agent are on the same page.
The heroes disperse as the ships begin their attack. Cap deflects a blast with his shield, but is knocked back onto the ground. As Quicksilver, Justice, and Daredevil take cover, Cap looks up in the air to see the flying Avengers meet their opponents. Quasar takes out one craft, but more of them attack the Avengers on the ground. As the S.H.I.E.L.D. vans and NYPD police cars are trashed, Wonder Man takes a direct hit from one ship while he protects the downed Stingray.
Recognizing the ship designs, Fury takes out a plasma gun and asks if anyone here speaks Kree. An agent comments that he barely speaks good English, while someone wonders what the Kree are doing here. Fury tells that person that he may be a little punchy from being in every single World War, but he doesn’t think that the aliens are here for a picnic. He then shoots at the main warship, but finds that it has a force field. Fury calls the Helicarrier and asks for detailed information on Kree defense systems and attack patterns.
As Warbird slams through one ship, Quasar tells the flyers that they need to communicate with the Kree soldiers and find out what they think that they are doing. One thing at a time, replies Falcon. Wonder Man grabs the craft that Warbird crippled and throws it straight to the ground, where the mighty Hercules trashes it with one good punch. Hercules climbs on top and pulls out the Kree soldier, demanding to hear his words of war. Spider-Man comes to his aid and jokes that he should write greeting cards.
Suddenly, his spider sense goes off as the Kree soldier pulls out a plasma gun and shoots. The alien speaks in Kree to them as he jumps out of the wreckage and runs away on foot. Spider-Man calls out to him and reminds him to tip the valet. He ties up the soldier’s legs with webbing, but the soldier uses his gun to free himself and sends Spider-Man jumping. The soldier, however, slams face first into Captain America’s shield. “You mind telling me what this is about, soldier?” asks Cap.
As Quasar takes a direct blast from one of the ships, Cap interrogates his prisoner and asks him why they are attacking the Avengers. Why are the Kree even attacking Earth soil? Fury comes to his side and tells the alien that he should translate that into English too. They know he can. The soldier explains to the two that the Avengers insult the entire Kree race. They have come to remove them from the history books of the Kree. Why now, asks Captain America. The soldier informs Cap that it was foretold by the Supreme Intelligence that this day and time would come. This day is the end of the Avengers. The Kree have arrived to see it so. They will die by the hand of those that they have betrayed. Confused by that last part, Cap asks the soldier how he was betrayed. This is the day, replies the soldier, as he is suddenly teleported away. Cap and Fury have no time to discuss this however, as the warship begins to teleport down an entire Kree army!
As Tigra and the Black Panther join Cap and Fury, Fury comments that this isn’t right. On many levels, agrees the Panther. Fury tells the group that he means much more. The Kree have them at a total disadvantage. They have the technology and machinery to level New York City without breaking a sweat. There is absolutely no reason why a single one of them needs to touch Earth soil. There is no reason at all for a ground assault. Something is not right here.
Nearby, a frustrated Hawkeye stands upon some rubble and decides that this has to end now. He pulls out his bow and takes down five Kree soldiers in seconds. He calls out to the other Avengers and tells them to end it their way. Did these blue things come around looking for a fight? They should send them home with something to talk about. He then sends five more arrows into two more Kree soldiers. As Hawkeye takes on some more Kree, he tells them that they picked the wrong day to screw with him. He continues to boast and talk down to the Kree, but suddenly things go really bad really fast. As he leaps into the air towards a Kree soldier, Hawkeye is blasted in the back with an energy weapon. Worse yet, his quiver catches on fire.
Realizing that he is utterly useless without his arrows, Hawkeye decides that this has to end know. As the Black Widow calls out to him concerned, Hawkeye looks at Cap straight in the eye, knowing that it is all over. Yelling that he does not want to go out like this, Hawkeye rushes towards a Kree soldier with a jet back. He grabs the soldier and takes control of the trigger to the pack. “Like this!!” screams Hawkeye, as he pushes the trigger and flies straight up into the air with the soldier. Captain America calls out to Hawkeye, as he redirects the trajectory of himself and goes straight into the engine of the warship. Moments after crashing into the engine, the entire warship explodes, taking longtime Avenger Hawkeye with it, much to the horror of the others.
Several Avengers run out of the way as the warship crashes down. Captain America and the Black Widow look on in horror at the sight of watching their friend die. Cap then screams “Avengers Assemble,” as the infuriated team charges and begins to overpower their Kree attackers. Suddenly, the soldiers are teleported away and the fighter crafts begin to fly away. Photon, Wonder Man, and Warbird give chase, but the crafts go into high gear and zoom away.
Down on the ground, Falcon holds the devastated Black Widow, as the other Avengers look on at Captain America, who picks up his former colleagues bow from the ground. Fury calls the Helicarrier, but the agent tells him that there are no readings that they can analyze. Fury tells the man that when he gets up there he wants answers. They seriously performed poorly today.
Nearby, Mr. Fantastic restrains the Thing, who insists on getting Hawkeye’s body out of the ship. He deserves a normal burial. Rick Jones examines the ship and picks up a piece of scrap from it. He is confused and asks what it is. Mr. Fantastic tells him that it isn’t paper, and Rick adds that it isn’t metal. Mr. Fantastic admits that he has no clue what it is. “And you with the big brain,” comment Thing. Fury demands that someone gives him answers before he loses his cool.
A voice suddenly apologizes to the Avengers for not arriving sooner. In front of the team appears an astral image of Dr. Strange. Strange tells the team that he thought that they would have now understood the true nature of these attacks. “The magics are being abused,” reveals the mystic. Cap is surprised that Dr. Strange is there but, suddenly, stops talking as he takes in what Strange just said. “Oh no…” utters Captain America as he suddenly and tragically realizes who is behind this all.
Black Panther, Captain America, Hawkeye (Avengers)
Black Knight IV, Black Widow, Crystal, Darkhawk, Demolition Man, Falcon, Firebird, Firestar, Hellcat, Hercules, Jocasta, Justice, Living Lightning, Mantis, Moon Knight, Namor, Photon, Quasar, Quicksilver, Rage, Rick Jones, Sersi, Silverclaw, Spider-Man, Starfox, Stingray, Tigra, Triathlon, USAgent, Warbird, Wonder Man (all former Avengers)Daredevil, Luke Cage, Nick Fury, Spider Woman IHuman Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (Fantastic Four)Dr. Strange
Various Kree soldiersSkrull soldier?
Various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents
This storyline is part of Avengers Disassembled, which is an event more so than a traditional crossover. Other titles were affected as well, though the storylines in those books are not needed to read each title. These titles include Captain America and the Falcon #5-7, which takes place right before Avengers #500, Iron Man (3rd Series) #86-89, Thor (2nd Series) #82-85, Captain America (4th Series) #29-32, Spectacular Spider-Man (2nd Series) #17-20, and Fantastic Four (3rd Series) #517-519.
Though he was removed from the group gathering in Avengers #501, Quicksilver is seen several times throughout this issue. In addition, in the pages where Hawkeye takes on the Kree soldiers, two panels show a Skrull warrior being knocked down to the ground, which is extremely odd, as the Skrulls and Kree hate one another. Is something more going on, or is this another clue for readers to realize that there is something wrong with the nature of these attacks?
Another clue to figure out something is wrong with these attacks: The Kree are no longer the Kree anymore after the company-wide Maximum Security crossover, in which the Supreme Intelligence used the Cosmic Cube to transform them into an advanced race known as the Ruul, who can change form to adapt to any situation.